Choosing the Right Wood for Living Hinges
We have talked about Living Hinges before but recently in our Craft Closet Facebook Live I showed some experiments I did with wood and living hinges! It was so fun that we wanted to share it here on our website too so that you can have fun experimenting!
Living Hinges create movement in usually non-flexible objects. They are most often used in wood but can also be used with other materials like, acrylic, veneers and much more. There are many features that go into making a living hinge work with wood, which is what we are going to focus on in this article.
First, is the wood species. Different species have natural grain patterns that make them harder or softer. For instance Basswood is very soft and Ebony is very hard because of this Basswood would make a better living Living Hinges than Ebony. Another thing to consider with material is if it is a solid wood, plywood or a MDF core with veneer. From my experiments I have found that some plywoods are the best for making living hinges, for instance Italian Poplar. Next, would be MDF core wood. And last, would be solid wood which, depending on the hardness can be more brittle when making a living hinge.
Second, some species have more natural bendabilty than others. For example, Italian Poplar is also know as bender board, it is very bendy and can bend some naturally without breaking. This would create a very good living hinge.
Third, is the direction of cut. When cutting a living hinge, I have found that if you cut the hinge with the grain it bends easier without breaking.
Finally, is the pattern that you use for the living hinge. In this article from Instructables.com they discuss all kinds of different patterns that you can use for living hinges. They also have free files downloads for patterns. I suggest reading their article and testing out the different patterns and finding out what works best for the wood you want to use. Here is the link.
For those of you who love learning about the mechanics of things, this is a great website to visit to learn all about living hinges and how they work, they also have free tests files to download.
In our Facebook live we showed how to make living hinge bracelets with a very flexible pattern. Here is the link to our file if you would like to make it too!
Have fun testing and creating! Let us know what your favorites are!